UNTITLED Takes on San Francisco for First Time
Exhibitors and collectors showed enthusiasm early on.
UNTITLED opened its doors yesterday for its inaugural San Francisco edition at Pier 70, a warehouse in San Francisco’s emerging Dogpatch neighborhood.
The idea to bring the Miami fair to the West Coast began three years ago. “San Francisco has really important cultural institutions, really good local and not-for-profit institutions, a strong collector base, a strong group of people that are interested in promoting, supporting and contributing to the arts, and in addition to that it’s just a really interesting city,” said its founder, Jeffrey Lawson.
Exhibitors and collectors showed enthusiasm early on, and a number of bold names attended the fair’s VIP opening. Some of the fair directors who were at FOG Design + Art showed up to check out UNTITLED, such as Art Basel Americas director Noah Horowitz, Armory Show director Ben Genocchio, and viennacontemporary director Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt. Collectors Mera and Don Rubell, along with local collectors Robin Wright, Joachim Bechtle, and Nancy Forster perused the fair while artists John Waters, Barry McGee, Clare Rojas and Trevor Paglen were also spotted.
Fifty-five exhibitors from 10 countries participated in this year’s edition. Los Angeles galleries in particular had a strong showing, thanks to UNTITLED’s close proximity. “It’s slightly local for us in LA,” said Harmony Murphy. “We were able to drive up here with the work.”
The gallerist brought a number of works that ranged from $2,000 to $15,000, including a $4,000 sculpture by Katherine O’Halloran that explored the notion of self care. The work consisted of a vessel with a rope attached held up in the air by a helium-filled balloon. Collectors showed interest early on, but were daunted at the idea of regularly filling it with helium. “The idea is that you stare in it, see yourself, or even in a conceptual way, wash your face, and the balloon, to take care of it,” said Murphy.
However, a few of Josh Callaghan’s peach pit sculptures sold at the vernissage.
Fellow Los Angeles gallery Francois Ghebaly did very well for San Francisco, selling out of its booth of works by Neïl Beloufa, who is going to be in an upcoming group show in San Francisco’s Wattis Institute; Patrick Jackson, who will have a solo show there in June; and Sayre Gomez. Night Gallery, its DTLA neighbor, was also off to a good start with a solo booth of paintings of Mount Wilson by Andy Woll. “One of the advantages of doing a solo booth is really showing the scope of someone’s practice,” said Night Gallery founder Davida Nemeroff.
In the early hours of the fair, the gallery had sold one $3,000 painting by Woll of the mountain, which emulated the color palette of vintage science fiction novels.
Chicago-based Monique Meloche, who has been showing at UNTITLED since the fair started in Miami five years ago, also saw the benefits of UNTITLED San Francisco in its first day, with a number of works including an altar by Nate Young, and a sculpture by Sanford Biggers selling, and two of the artists earning museum shows.
The booth, which focused on the African diaspora, featured a collage by Ebony Patterson of a mug shot of a Jamaican man who bleached his skin—a practice popular in the country’s dancehall scene—to evade arrest. It also showed the work of Brendan Fernandes, who investigated the post-colonial narrative through lithographs of ballet dancers’ bodies.
San Francisco-based Anglim Gilbert Gallery capitalized on photographer Bruce Connor’s current SFMOMA show with several of his black-and-white photographs of the ’80s punk scene.
A number of foreign exhibitors participated in the fair as well, including Mexico City’s PROYECTOMONCLOVA. “We found the idea of San Francisco really exciting,” said director Polina Stroganova. The gallery presented four Mexican artists, including Martin Soto Clement.
Tehran-based Dastan’s Basement showed vibrant works by Iman Raad ranging from $1,000 to $40,000, selling a few of his smaller works during the opening. “We wanted to be a good mix of what’s traditional Iranian painting has been about and where’s it’s gone further,” said director Hormoz Hematian. “And because it’s cutting edge, we figured we should be showing the cutting edge of drawing here, which is this guy,” he said, gesturing to Raad’s work.
Meanwhile, Buenos Aires-based Henrique Faria Fine Art took the opportunity to highlight its roster of Latin American artists in California, which gets a boost from the upcoming Getty-led Pacific Standard Time exhibitions in LA.
Other highlights of the fair included a $45,000 large light sign by Andrea Bowers at Andrew Kreps that blinked “My Body My Choice, Her Body, Her Choice.”
Galerie Perrotin showed a number of artists in its roster, including a Daniel Arsham relic sculpture of a New York Yankees baseball cap, a pink and purple Takashi Murakami flower painting, and a mirror of a woman’s mouth with a snail on her nose by Toilet Paper’s Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. Oakland gallery City Limits showed a number of floral abstract acrylic ink prints mixed with acrylic paint by San Francisco-based artist Facundo Argañaraz, while New York’s FOUR A.M. recreated its Grand Street window front to showcase a rotating booth of works by artists such as Yevgeniya Baras’ impasto oil-on-canvas abstract works, and a bronze bust by Sarah Peters.
“The main objective here is to be able to create an arts week in San Francisco,” said Lawson.
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